Meet The MBA Class Of 2020: Profiles In Courage

Irina Titkova

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College

I believe in the power of paying it forward. I’m blessed with great guides and aspire to guide others.”

Hometown: Mogilev, Belarus

Fun Fact About Yourself: I recently traveled around the globe in two days! My sightseeing involved admiring five countries, but sadly only from the airports.

Undergraduate School and Major: Brooklyn College, Business Management – Public Accounting and Finance

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: KPMG, Experienced Associate

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:  In college, I was hired as an office assistant at a diamond company. After some time, I noticed that the business could not grow because it was not adequately managed financially, so I offered to take on those responsibilities. As a result, the company got a substantial loan from a bank to expand inventory and even sell internationally.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? They are nice, and they have the Tuck ethos. Humble, brilliant, ambitious – and yet they come across as people with open minds, big hearts and with wonderful personal stories.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? I chose Tuck because of the emphasis on global exposure, its well-organized alumni network, and career placement services. Tuck encourages students to study abroad through the TuckGO requirement, and I am interested in taking advantage of this opportunity. The strong emphasis on alumni connections and career placement attracted me as well because I am a career-oriented person. I also envision myself helping and guiding other Tuckies in their career journeys.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I want to become a member of the Consulting Club, Tuck Public Speaking Club, and Net Impact.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I have always been passionate about growth and sustainability. Professionally, I have enjoyed creating value for businesses by helping them improve their strategies or making their internal operations more efficient. My experiences so far, although very enriching, were also insightful. Watching others, I realized that there are areas where I need to learn and grow more. I believe that the intense Tuck MBA curriculum, paired with perspectives from the class of 2020, is exactly what I need to improve and round out my background.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I sought advice from many professionals with an MBA degree from highly ranked schools. Most recalled their own MBA experiences as life-changing and professionally transformational. They recalled this time in their lives as a time where they could reflect and introspect, alongside brilliant people, on their strengths, weaknesses, and passions. I liked the fact that they never emphasized the job title or the money, but instead talked about the conviction they developed in their career direction and the self-confidence they gained in pursuing their own passions to make a difference in the world. I may have had a selection bias in my sample set, but most enjoyed their post-MBA careers more than pre-MBA careers.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Kellogg and NYU

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I was looking for three things: 1) Style of teaching; 2) Culture of institution; and 3) Ability to form strong bonds with peers at school. I was always interested in a small program, but one that was highly-rated. A strong focus on culture and peer networking was perhaps the most significant factors for me.

I did a lot of primary research, which included reading how schools positioned their programs, how alumni wrote about the experiences, and how the blogs reflected the curriculum and culture. I supplemented this with actual alumni interaction – meeting with as many as I could – and that perhaps helped me the most in forming my own conclusions.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? It was my decision to stay in the United States as an asylee with 400 dollars in my pocket, no connections, and poor English. Through this experience, not only have I learned the value of being able to dream with conviction, but it also instilled in me the passion for persevering against adversity and taking personal accountability for outcomes.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I am planning to work with consumer brands – companies that help transform consumer lives, either working through consulting companies, through private equity, or directly as an employee.

Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I hope to work with one of the leading consulting firms, working on strategy and transformation projects that matter. I also hope to be able to help Tuck alumni and future Tuck MBA students in any way I can with their own careers.

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